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January 23, 2015

Symposium Marks 60th Anniversary of Japan's ODA
Participants from many countries critically reviewed Japanese ODA and discussed the future

The JICA Research Institute held a symposium entitled “Japan and the Developing World: Sixty years of Japan’s foreign aid and the post-2015 agenda” in Tokyo late last year.

The event was organized to mark the 60th anniversary of Japan’s Official Development Assistance, which started in 1954. It aimed to critically review the history of Japan’s ODA and, based on lessons drawn, look toward the future of international cooperation.

The institute also has initiated a research project on a historical analysis of Japan’s ODA. The final results of the project and the symposium will be published in a book this year.

Twenty-seven keynote speakers and panelists, ranging from researchers, Japanese government officials and representatives of the private sector, NGOs, developing countries, and international organizations, participated in the symposium, held Nov. 20. Over 200 people attended.

JICA President Akihiko Tanaka gave the opening remarks, which were followed by keynote addresses. Speakers of various nationalities referred to the achievements and advantages of Japan’s ODA, as well as opportunities and challenges in international cooperation.

The symposium had four sessions: “Overview and political economy of Japan’s foreign aid,” “Asian development assistance models,” “Japan, MDIs (multilateral development institutions) , and the future of global governance in development finance” and “The future of ODA and the post-2015 agenda.”

Panelists in the first session discussed the need for Japan to improve internal and external communication concerning its ODA policy. In Session 2, panelists identified the common features of the ODA provided by Japan, China and South Korea as assistance based on their own experiences of development and emphasis on comprehensive economic growth through infrastructure development to improve investment conditions.

JICA Senior Vice President Hideaki Domichi, in his closing remarks, concluded that Japan should enhance partnerships with development actors worldwide, based on lessons drawn from history, comparative advantages and constraints of its own development aid.

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